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Common Name



Latin name






Similar species







Crocuta crocuta



Most common of Africa’s three species of hyena the spotted is also a ruthless hunter in its own right and not just a scavenger of other animals kills. Groups of hyena will hunt at night bringing down prey as large as Buffalo should the right

opportunity present itself. Can be a solitary hunter but is usually seen in groups around carcases. Males and females are hard to distinguish in the field as both carry male looking genitalia. Females dominate the group the lowest female being higher than the highest male. Recorded as having the strongest jaws of any African mammal with

digestive juices to suit their high bone and hence calcium diets. Hyena droppings are usually very white in colour.



Brown hyena, Striped hyena and possibly the Ardwolf which is very hyena like in shape but eats nothing more than termites.







Hyaena brunnea



The Brown hyena is usually a rare and solitary creature and you can consider yourself lucky if you encounter one. Scientist have recently found that they can however be quite sociable when numbers permit although this is not seen with any frequency as they are mainly nocturnal. Much higher at the shoulder than the rump an adaptation for carrying heavy pieces of prey animals off. The neck and jaw muscles are extremely powerful. They tend to be more nocturnal than the spotted hyena and frequent drier places such as the semi desert areas of Namibia. They obtain most of their moisture from prey although will drink readily if water is available.



Superficially could be confused with any of the hyenas or aardwolf but if you think of it as mostly dark brown with a light brown to fawn upper neck you should be able to correctly identify this one.